Truck: No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150 for Roper Racing
Crew chief: Shane Whitbeck
UNOH 200 Notes of Interest…
- The UNOH 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway will mark Cory Roper and the Roper Racing team’s third start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150 team earned a 13th-place finish in their first outing at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in March and an 18th-place effort at Iowa Speedway in June.
- Testing…To prepare for Thursday night’s race at Bristol, Roper and the No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150 team tested at the 0.533-mile track on Monday, August 6. Roper was able to run nearly 200 laps, the distance of Thursday’s race, as the team worked to gain experience at the track.
- Going the Distance…The drive to Bristol Motor Speedway is a relatively short, 3-hour trip for most NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams. However, for the Baytown, Texas, based Roper Racing team, the trek to Bristol clocks in at nearly 1,400 miles and more than 20 hours on the road.
- Last Race…Roper Racing’s last NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start came in the M&M’s 200 at Iowa Speedway in June. Roper started the race from the 26th position and ran in the top-20 for much of the event before issues with loose wheels and the subsequent pit stops to address the problem left him several laps down. He was ultimately able to score an 18th-place finish.
- Staying Busy…Roper Racing’s last event was nearly two months ago, but the team has been fairly busy since then. They completed an extensive expansion and renovation of the team’s race shop in Texas and prepared trucks for the upcoming race. In addition, Roper celebrated his 41st birthday on July 31.
- The Team…Based in Baytown, Texas, Roper Racing fields the No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150. The 2018 season marks the team’s first foray into competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and they are slated to run a limited schedule.
- The Driver…While he’s a newcomer to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Roper is no stranger to racing. He grew up watching his dad, Kenny Roper, compete. At the age of 14, Roper got his first racecar and started competing on a local and regional level at short tracks in Texas and Oklahoma. The Vernon, Texas, native now resides in Mont Belvieu, Texas with his wife, Cherie and daughters Megan and Britney.
- The Crew Chief…NASCAR veteran Shane Whitbeck serves as crew chief for the No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150. The Sarasota, Florida, native previously worked at Brad Keselowski Racing for 10 years. Whitbeck is based in North Carolina and consults with the team during the week and serves as crew chief on race weekends.
- About Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc.… Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. is a global industrial construction, fabrication and maintenance company, headquartered in Baytown, Texas. The company executes turnkey construction projects from scope development, safety management, project controls, project management, procurement, staffing, fabrication and construction. Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. serves the power, chemical processing and refining industries.
Cory Roper, driver of the No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150
What are your goals for the race?
“After getting to test there last week, I’d say we’re looking for a top-five at Bristol.”
As you mentioned, the team tested at Bristol last week. How did the test go?
“It went really well and we’ve got a lot of confidence going into this week’s race. We made about 190 laps. So, I got really comfortable about getting right out there and firing off when we made changes. I felt really comfortable there. The truck was good. It got a little tight on us, but we’re doing some shock stuff and getting that worked out. I’d say we’ve got a solid handle on things going into Thursday.”
You’ve run two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races so far this year. Is there anything you can take from your experiences at Martinsville and Iowa to apply to Thursday’s race at Bristol?
“Don’t over-drive the truck. And I did the same thing when we first unloaded at the test at Bristol. You just feel like it’s going to turn and it doesn’t. It’s just taken me some time to get used to the trucks. They’re not late models. You’ve really got to back them up and they’ll only do so much. It’s kind of hard. I’ve always over-drove everything I’ve gotten in. It’s not a bad thing. It’s easier to back them up than to try to go harder. We’re working on it, but that’s what I’m learning is these things have only got so much grip and it’s hard to make yourself back up.”
Shane Whitbeck, crew chief of the No. 04 Preferred Industrial Contractors, Inc. Ford F-150
What are your goals for the race at Bristol?
“I actually have some pretty high goals because we were able to go test there and Cory’s got the track down pretty good. Obviously, I want to be competitive, and I think with Cory’s background and some of the tracks he’s raced at, we have a really good shot at a top-10 finish. Cory ran pretty good lap times at the test. Our learning curve isn’t going to be like Martinsville and Iowa where he had to learn the track. For Bristol, we can go there and just focus on the setup of the truck and get ready for qualifying because there are going to be a lot of trucks. NASCAR is doing a great job with this engine program. It’s brought a lot of trucks out there that are going to be competitive. I’ve heard rumblings of nearly 40 trucks on the entry list, which is fantastic to see the growth of the Truck Series. I feel like we can be on the top side of those trucks on Thursday.”